Complex Sentences

A Simple Sentence with Attitude


A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. A dependent clause is preceded by subordinators such as because, since, although, when, or after or a relative pronoun such as who, which, or that .

For example:
  • When the sun is down, the birds go to sleep.
  • The universe is still after the wolves howl.

    Even though each clause in the first example contains a subject and a verb, we cannot put a period after “When the sun is down” because it is not a complete thought on its own. It leaves us hanging and makes us want to ask, “When the sun is down, then what happens?”

    Punctuation notes: use a comma if the dependent clause comes before the independent clause. Don’t use a comma if the dependent clause comes after the independent clause.

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